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A Serving of Servanthood

“But whoever would be great among you must be your servant.” Mark 10:43

Crash! I heard the pounding of little kitten feet as 3-month-old Reese ran for safety from the lamp that shattered into tiny pieces across my dining room floor. I didn’t know what to do first. Make sure my precious, adorable, lovable kitten was not injured, scold her for getting on top of the buffet in the first place, get mad at my husband for leaving the lamp out, or laugh, remembering how we joked about that old lamp, hoping maybe one of the cats would knock it down. Mission accomplished. Except that, when it dropped, it was me and four kittens. So that meant that guess-who had the privilege of cleaning up the mess? Moi.

After completing a speedy body scan on Reese, I snapped a picture to send to my husband and fell to my hands and knees, ready to clean up the mess as quickly as I could. As I picked up larger pieces of glass, I found myself complaining, sinking deeper and deeper into self-pity. I didn’t have time for this. I had to make dinner so my son and I could leave in half an hour. Since I was alone, I had hoped to sit down and work on my writing for a bit while dinner cooked. Cleaning up a broken lamp was definitely not something on my list of goals for the precious amount of time I had free that afternoon.

As I crawled around the floor, however, the familiar feeling of guilt made its grand entrance. Didn’t I want the cuddly kittens? Didn’t I want to be a mom and wife, to take care of our home and make sure everything was safe and in order for my family? Didn’t I want to be the one to prepare dinners, ensuring my family was well-fed? I wanted to serve my family, so why was I complaining?

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Does It Matter What We Think? Not long after this incident I had another lesson in servanthood. Guess I didn’t learn the first time. We were invited to our friends’ house for dinner and I spent several hours that day creating a couple of desserts. When dessert was served, however, our host presented a delicious-looking pie. Immediately I felt frustrated and inadequate. God immediately asked me, “Tracy, don’t you want to know what it truly means to serve Me?” Yes, of course, Lord. Not five minutes after the pie was placed on the table I excused myself to the rest-room, a sanctuary where I could have a quick fit and then pull myself together in private. While in the bathroom my eyes were drawn to the shower curtain like metal to a magnet. The word “serve” jumped out at me. In that instant God showed me the real meaning of servanthood. He reminded me it’s not about how much time we spend on something or whether we’re appreciated or acknowledged for it. It’s in the act itself of doing something for the sole purpose of pleasing someone else, taking no thought whatsoever to ourselves. Just like Jesus when He washed His disciples’ feet. Just like Jesus as He lived out His entire life on earth. As we embrace this holiday season, let’s remember Jesus’ actions while He was here, and strive to be like Him, the servant who rearranges his/her thinking so we desire to put others’ before ourselves. To be the person who takes pleasure in picking up shattered pieces of old lamp from the floor, because in doing so, we are learning what it truly means to serve.

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